With the Coronavirus sweeping across almost all borders, fear and anxiety has gripped hearts around the world. No one seems safe anymore and everyone is searching for methods of protection. In times of crisis however, the children of God, as it has happened right through history, can find encouragement and comfort through the promises of God. One such passage people often turn to for comfort is Psalm 91.
As I look at social media today, I find many people sharing either the entire passage of Psalm 91 or at least parts of it, to strengthen others. Through this article, I would like to share my thoughts as well regarding this beautiful Psalm. Do keep your Bible open to Psalm 91 as you read.
Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka – Photo Credit: Vasantha Jayasooriya
Let me begin this sermon on God’s restoration with the following illustration.
One of the historical wonders of Sri Lanka is the complex rock fortress, Sigiriya, and the palace built on it by one of our former Kings, Kasyapa, many centuries ago. It is an amazing place to see & tourists flock there to view its beauty, grandeur and craftsmanship. One of the highlights of Sigiriya is the frescoes that are painted on the rock walls. These and the site itself are considered National treasures, with UNESCO listing Sigiriya as a world heritage site. (If ever you come over to Sri Lanka, you need to visit Sigiriya).
Many years ago, some of the frescoes were vandalized by an unknown group of people, with, (if I remember correctly), either ink or paint being thrown, to deface them. As a result, many experts had to be brought in (foreign and local), to work at restoring these frescoes back to their original state. Thankfully, they succeeded in most of their painstaking efforts.
“You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance”. (Psalm 65:11 NLT)
What a powerful verse for the New Year!
As the year comes to an end, you may be going through much reflection as to what happened in the past 12 months. Some will have testimonies, others will remember severe challenges, while some others may think of the health issues they had to face. Some might say, ‘It was my best year’, while others may say, ‘it could have been better’, or, ‘It was a disaster’! The list can go on. Of course, most of the year was overshadowed by COVID -19.
.While preparing this message, here are some old memories that went through my mind.
It is said that a well- known evangelist was once preaching in Chicago on the first day of a series of Gospel meetings. At the end of the sermon, he felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to give people an opportunity to invite Jesus into their hearts. However, since the meetings were scheduled to go on for many days, he apparently decided to make that invitation the following day. That night, the great fire of Chicago swept through the town, causing much havoc, destruction and loss of lives. As a result, the evangelist decided that he would never again close a Gospel message without giving people an opportunity to invite Christ into their hearts and to receive His salvation and eternal life.
I wonder how many times you have been let down by someone? There are many people who promise us that they will stand by us, no matter what comes our way. They say, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll be right behind you’. However, when trouble strikes, they desert us. In fact, many of them are so far behind that you can’t see them even with a telescope!
I once read a story in a magazine of an atheist who loved nature & had gone on a hike on a nature trail. As he kept admiring the scenes around him, he lost track of the trail. When eventually the time came for him to get back, he realized that he was hopelessly lost. So, for the first time in his life, he prayed to God.
I remember an occasion when I was battling what seemed like a huge crisis in my life. It was causing me much anxiety and sleepless nights. In the midst of this battle, a gentleman who was a very shy and quiet person, spoke out a prophetic word at one of our Sunday evening services. The message he shared that evening under the Holy Spirit’s anointing was exactly what I needed to hear for the situation I was in. As I received assurance as God spoke through this brother’s words, He began to work in my crisis and everything changed within a couple of weeks!!
If ever we needed to hear from God, it is now. The good news is that God still speaks to His people in different ways and this is very evident in the Christmas story.
Proposition : God waits to speak to you at Christmas time.
In this sermon I would like to share 3 ways in which God spoke in the Christmas story and its relevance for us today. They are:
Introduction: As we go through the music of today and days gone by, we find that the ‘Heart’ is referred to over and over again. To take a few examples of songs that came out during different stages of my life, we find titles like ‘Heart of Gold’, ‘A Good Heart’, ‘My Heart Will go on Loving You’, and ‘Your Cheating Heart’. (I guess these titles show how old I am!). That’s because the heart is at the center of all life.
One of the meanings given by the Cambridge Dictionary for the word ‘Heart’ goes like this: “The central or most important part” (of a matter). That’s how we come to the term “Let’s get to the heart of the matter”. Another description of the term “the heart of the matter” by The Free Dictionary goes like this: “The most important, basic or fundamental essence or elements of an issue….or matter at hand. That brings me to the main thought in this sermon.
Proposition: Let’s ensure we get to ‘The Heart of Christmas’ this year.
One of the most well loved statements in the Bible is when God proclaims, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you. This promise of God’s care has encouraged thousands of His children throughout history. In fact, most of us may know it by memory.
This short video (Approx 5 minutes) Covers 4 passages in the Bible where God’s care through this promise , (or something close to it), comes through emphatically. it is a promise revealed to Moses and Joshua. It is also emphasized in the Book of Hebrews and in a slightly different format through the words of Jesus. References are from the Books of Deuteronomy, Joshua, Hebrews, and the Gospel of Matthew.
May this video of God’s care be a blessing and encouragement to you. If you would like to read the full sermon on this topic, please click on the link given below.
In 1969, Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff recorded a song that has been subsequently covered by many illustrious artistes. It was titled, ‘Many Rivers To Cross’. Jimmy Cliff mentioned that the song was birthed out of the frustration and helplessness he felt after moving from Jamaica to the UK. The feelings came about because unlike what he had expected, nothing significant seemed to be happening in his career at that time.
The lyrics go like this:
Many rivers to cross
But I can't seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost
As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover
Are you feeling like that today? Surrounded by turbulent waters that you can’t seem to cross? It is a fact that many people are facing turbulent waters today, specially with the ripple effects of COVID-19. In the midst of such challenges, the Word of God gives us great hope and assurance. In fact, the Bible encourages us to trust Him completely as we face the turbulent waters of life.
Are you in need of God’s provision today? Is there a situation in your life in which you need to experience His answer to your prayer?
In 1 Kings 4:42-44, we see how God’s powerful provision came through at a critical time for Elisha and a large group of prophets that were being mentored by him at that time.
If we look at 2 Kings 4:38, we find that the region of Gilgal was going through a famine at that time. This meant that food was scarce for Elisha and his students. As a result, verses 39-41 of this chapter show us that the group had just come through a scary moment of food poisoning, due to the preparation of some wild gourds for one of their meals. Thankfully, they were delivered from this attack of food poisoning due to a mighty healing God provided through Elisha ( 2 Kings 4:41).
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So many tears have been shed over the last 4 months. Let’s however continue to keep our eyes focused on Jesus through our tears. Please share if you are blessed by this short video (4.42) and subscribe to our YouTube channel.